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Beatrice walks along the dusty red road that leads into the village. She is holding the twins, Oscar and Jennifer, by their hands. The first person she sees is a man picking lemons from a tree. Each lemon is like a small, bright sun.

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“Moni. Muli bwanji? Hello, how are you?” she says. “Ndili bwino. Muli bwanji? I’m fine. How are you?” he replies. “Hot,” says Beatrice, “it’s a long and dusty road to get here.” “Yes it is,” says the Lemon Man. “I’m looking for Grandmother Rose,” says Beatrice. “Well, you’ve almost found her. Past this tree, on you go, and you’re there,” says the Lemon Man. “Zikomo. Thank you,” says Beatrice.


They find Grandmother Rose in her vegetable garden, chasing a hen from the fresh, green shoots. She flaps her arms like a large, colourful hen herself.

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“Moni. Muli bwanji? Hello, how are you?” she says to Beatrice, puffing slightly and brushing the dust from her dress. “Ndili bwino, zikomo. I’m fine, thank you,” says Beatrice. “I see you have the twins with you,” says Grandmother Rose. “Yes,” says Beatrice. “They need someone to look after them now.” “I see,” says Grandmother Rose. She bends down and strokes the shoulders of Oscar and Jennifer in turn. Jennifer’s dress is too long for her. Her bare feet peep out from the hem of it like tiny fish. “Well, what can you do?” Grandmother Rose shrugs and she brushes the dust from her dress – even though she has already done it twice before.

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“And there’s a new baby too.” Beatrice turns, so that Grandmother Rose can see the baby strapped to her back. “But I have nothing to give a baby,” says Grandmother Rose. “Don’t worry,” says Beatrice, “I have milk for her here.” Grandmother Rose makes a coo-coo sound to the baby. “Does the baby have a name?” she asks. “Yes,” says Beatrice. “Her name is Grace.”

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Once, a long time ago, there was a great drought. There was no water anywhere. All the animals were weak with thirst and didn’t know what to do. Tortoise, the least important of all the animals, suggested that they meet the next morning at the parched waterhole. “Pah!” said Lion, “Since when did we pay any attention to what you say, Tortoise?” But no one else knew what to do, and they were all so very thirsty. The next morning they were all at the waterhole – Lion, Elephant, Giraffe and every other animal you can think of.

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“What we must do is stamp on the earth,” said Tortoise. “If we stamp hard, the water will flow.”

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“Indeed, if that is so,” said Lion, stepping forward, “then I should be the one to stamp first. For I am the King of All Animals – look at the size of my great paws, the rippling muscles in my forelegs and thighs. My stamping will bring forth water.” Lion threw back his head with its fine golden mane and he stamped and stamped on the hard, dry earth. He even tried a great roar from time to time. But nothing happened – not a spot of dampness appeared.

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“Silly idea,” said Lion. “Just as I told you it would be, coming from Tortoise.” But no one else knew what to do, so, next, Elephant stepped forward. “Good try, Lion,” he said. “Don’t be too hard on yourself, for I think you’ll find this is my kind of work. Who is heavier than me? Who can stamp with more force?”

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And who is more tired than Oscar and Jennifer? Grandmother Rose asks herself. For they have both fallen into each other and are now fast asleep…


A NOTE ABOUT MUMs AND ABOUT MALAWI Malawi is often called the sunshine heart of Africa. Here, you can see it on the map. Scotland has very close links with Malawi. Like Scotland, it is a very beautiful country. MUMs (Malawi’s Underprivileged Mothers) helps mums and their children in Malawi to have a better start in life. It has helped mothers in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, to have their babies more safely. Because of MUMs, in five villages in and around Lilongwe, children are fed phala – nutritious porridge – for breakfast five days a week. It’s hard to learn if you’re hungry! Some times children, like Oscar and Jennifer in the story, have no one to look after them properly. They become so hungry, they may be taken into care until they are strong enough to return to the village. Once back in the village, it’s important that they are well fed and that they have the chance to go to school. I hope you have enjoyed this story and that it’s told you something about the work of MUMs. If you would like to find out more about MUMs projects, go to www.mumsrecipes.org Thank you for buying this book. By doing so, you are supporting mums and children in Malawi.

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Linda McDonald (Founder of the MUMs charity)

MUMs Scottish Registered Charity Number is SC037759


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When the Rains Come